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Conversation covers the 'Peanuts' pause.

IS A VACATION a vacation if you're still very busy?

"It's been slightly more relaxing," said Charles Schulz, who's in the midst

of his first official break since starting "Peanuts" in 1950.

The five-week hiatus began on Thanksgiving, the day after Schulz's 75th

birthday, and will last until New Year's Day. During that time, the 2,600-plus

"Peanuts" clients are receiving reruns from between 1987 and 1992. While the

cartoonist doesn't have the usual syndicate deadline pressures, he's still

creating some comics.

"It's amusing and a little deflating, but I have to get ahead for when I

return," explained Schulz, who was working on two daily strips for February and

a Sunday comic for April when E&P called.

Even when he's not at the drawing board, ideas for "Peanuts" continue to fill

his brain. "The comic is always on my mind, [including] when I wake up at night

and can't go back to sleep," said Schulz.

The United Feature Syndicate cartoonist is also busy keeping up with

"Peanuts" licensing, working on the annual ice show at his skating rink, seeing

visitors, and answering correspondence --including birthday greetings.

One phone greeting came from painter Andrew Wyeth, whom Schulz had never

spoken to before. "It was the biggest thrill I have had in years," he said. "I

am in total awe of his art."

Schulz has also devoted time recently to chairing the capital campaign to

build a National D-Day Memorial in Bedford,Va.

"I think D-Day is the most important event of the 20th century," said the

World War II veteran, who contributed $1 million of his own money to the

memorial and has been calling other potential donors.

But even though he's busy with various activities, the "Peanuts" break has

made things somewhat easier for Schulz -- and he's glad that he asked United

for it.

"My wife had noticed I was getting a little jumpy," recalled the cartoonist.

One thing Schulz values about the extra time is that he's been able to work

out every day, rather than every other day, at a nearby sports medicine center.

The Californian even thought about heading down to Palm Springs for a day or

two of golf, but rain and his schedule prevented this.

What about a longer vacation trip? "That doesn't interest me" he said.

Schulz also doesn't think he'll be interested in another extended break in

the future. "I've always managed to get ahead enough to take a week or two

off," he said.

And, the cartooonist added, he still loves doing "Peanuts?

Strip Streak Stretched Nearly Half A Century

UNLIKE MANY SUPERSTAR comic creators, Charles Schulz uses no assistants on

his strip. He wrote, drew and lettered more than 17,000 "Peanuts" comics in a

row before starting the only mini-sabbatical of his 47-year career.

COPYRIGHT 1997 Duncan McIntosh Company, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1997 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:cartoonist Charles Schulz takes five-week hiatus
Author:Astor, David
Publication:Editor & Publisher
Date:Dec 20, 1997
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